Data Protection Act 1998

The Data Protection Act

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  • Created by: Jem
  • Created on: 08-04-13 16:12

The Data Protection Act 1998

This law was passed to protect privacy.  It controls what organisations and individuals can do with your personal information; both manual and computerised files.  Protection comes from the Data Protection Principles, which must be complied with by individuals and organisations.

Main principles in protecting privacy:

1.               1.           Personal Data shall be processed fairly and lawfully.

6.   Personal Data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of the data subject.  S.7 of Data Protection Act, or DPA, must be followed.

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Data Protection Act 1998

S.7 states: data subjects have right to:

·         To be told that their personal data is being processed (used)

·         If the data is being used they must be told:

o   The type of personal data being used

o   The purpose it is being used for

o   The recipients to which the data is being disclosed.

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Data Protection Act 1998

In accordance with Data principle 1, data subject must give consent for the data to be used.  Or, it is necessary for the administration of justice/a statutory requirement, as contained in Schedule 2 DPA. 

If it is ‘sensitive personal data’ such as:

·         Religious

·         Political

·         Related to a person’s sexual life or mental well being

Then there are more conditions:

·         Data subject must give explicit consent. OR  ·         The information must have been made deliberately public by the subject. OR

·         It is for medical purposes. OR  It is for the administration of justice.

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Data Protection Act 1998

Data Principle 1 and 6 protect privacy through giving people control over their personal data, so that it cannot be used without consent.  If data principles are not applicable, as in national security cases involving MI5 and MI6 (who don’t have to comply with DPA), that personal data and privacy are not protected.  

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Detection and Prevention of Crime

Data processed for this reason doesn’t need to comply with DP 6

The media also don’t need to comply with Data Principle 6.  Unless they don’t honestly believe that:

·         Publication is in the public interest

·         Complying with the Data Principles would stop them doing their job

In processing data, then the media don’t have to comply with most of the Data Principles, except Data Principle 7: the need to keep your information secure. 

If it is proved that an organisation or an individual has breached the data principles an enforcement order can be issued which will force the offender to comply in future.  Non-compliance with the order is criminal.  There is also the opportunity to sue.

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